Lagos demolition: Top journalist who lost N70million home leads protest to NASS
Felix Oguejiofor Abugu, former Editor of The Guardian on Saturday, whose N70million Lagos home was demolished recently by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAA), is leading a group of other victims to the National Assembly to protest the inhuman act.
The group under the aegis of Association of Victims of Runview/Mercy Estate Lagos Demolitions, petitioned NASS over the incident, which occurred on Friday, April 28, 2023, when bulldozers sent by agents of FAAN, brought down their homes, with many of them not allowed to pick out even a broom.
In protesting “the wrongful destruction of our houses by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and its agents,” the victims, in a petition signed by Abugu and countersigned by five others of the 13 victims of the controversial exercise, asking the members of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation to intervene, the group insisted the action was wrongly done by FAAN (which owns Runview/Mercy Estate).
They described the treatment as “unfair, even lacking in common sense,” especially with the fact that the same FAAN, which, ab initio, gave them approval to build on their plots would later turn around, after the empty lands had been developed, to claim that “we built on unauthorised area.”
Outside Abugu, the group’s spokesman, others who signed the document, dated May 4, 2023, included Olufemi George Adewunmi, Francis Okechukwu Eke, Mr. George and Mrs. Victoria Egwakhe and two others, the petition recalled that “on Friday, April 28, 2023, bulldozers hired by FAAN from Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) rolled into our Estate and demolished 13 buildings.”
The statement, said: “Out of this number, we protest that six of the buildings belonging to our members were wrongfully demolished,” the petitioners asserted, adding that “had FAAN or any of its agents given us audience prior to the demolitions, they would have discovered that there was no cogent reason for their action (because) we have evidence to prove that the plots on which we built were legitimately acquired under an arrangement put in place by FAAN itself.
“In 2015/2016, long before most of us started developing our property, FAAN undertook an enumeration of all the plots of land in what was originally Richfield Estate (named after a school called Richfield Schools, the first development on that piece of real estate), later renamed Runview/Mercy State by the Airports Authority.
“Termed ‘Regularization’, the idea of the enumeration was to streamline all titles to plots of land in the Estate at the payment of N2m (two million naira only) per plot to the Landlords Association acting in behalf of FAAN.
“Sir, there is available evidence that more than half of the six landlords whose houses were destroyed had paid more than half of the 2m ‘Regularisation’ fee (some N1m, some N1.2m, some 1.5m, among others) demanded by FAAN, long before they even started building their houses.
“What that means is that FAAN had way back recognised us as bonafide owners of property in the Runview/Mercy Estate. The question is, if our members had complied with the Airports Authority’s demands ab initio, why did FAAN then turn around to demolish our houses without any cogent reasons?
“As we read in the press, LASBCA, which merely deployed its equipment and personnel to carry out the demolitions for FAAN, said our buildings were destroyed because they were built on an oil pipeline. However, to the best of our knowledge, Sir, none of our members built their house on any oil pipeline as no such a thing exists in our section of the Estate.
“As a matter of fact, FAAN itself, aided by the Landlords’ Association, had in April last year carried out an excavation on one of members’ property to find out if there was any pipeline running underground through that stretch of land covering six buildings on IK Peter’s Close, but did not find any. Indeed, it is on record that FAAN/Landlords Association offered to pay for the cost of that excavation but one of our members eventually picked the bill.
“So, how could our buildings have been demolished on the grounds that they were built on a non-existent oil pipeline? Is this a case of giving a dog a bad name in order to kill it? Obviously!”
The group, which presented a copy of the petition to the Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, who led members of his Committee on a fact-finding tour of the demolition site over the weekend, consequently appealed that in the light of the ‘obvious miscarriage of justice’ in the “wrongful demolition of our members’ houses, we plead with you, Sir, and members of your committee to use your good offices to ameliorate the physical and psychological trauma our families who were roughly thrown out on the streets as a result of the demolitions, have suffered.”
“We insist that we did not do any wrong in all the transactions we have had with FAAN at Runview/Mercy Estate and should, therefore, not be treated with such indignities as have been meted out to us by the Airports Authority.
“Please, save us from this inhuman treatment by an agency of government that ought really to treat citizens with some level of empathy, respect and dignity,” the group pleaded.
Hon. Nnaji’s team was later received at the FAAN head office in Lagos, where the Airports Authority’s officials and representatives of the Runview/Mercy Estate’s Landlords Association strove to justify the demolitions.
In his remarks, a former Chairman of the Landlords’ Association (name withheld) in whose tenure the plots on which six of the demolished houses were built were enumerated and receipts given for payments made, thanked FAAN for demolishing the houses, claiming that the victims defied the Association’s order not to build on the property.
According to findings, it was incidentally the same former Chairman who negotiated, at a commission, the purchase of the plot on which one of the victims built his now demolished house.
BREAKING: All clear for Tinubu! S’Court dismisses PDP’s double nomination suit *Says, PDP a busy-body
For being a meddlesome interloper and a busy-body in bringing a case that was none of its business, the Supreme Court, on Friday slammed a N2million fine on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), over its suit demanding that the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25 presidential election be vitiated.
The main opposition party, had claimed that Kashim Shettima, being a candidate in a Senatorial election in Borno and as well as the running mate to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate in the election, amounted to double Nomination, which is forbidden by the law.
Based on that, the prayed the apex court to declare the ticket null and void and the votes recorded for it in the election, through which they were declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), wasted, a prayer, which if it had succeeded, would pave the way for Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the party in the election to take over from Tinubu as the 16th President on Monday, when he is due to be inaugurated.
But the court, while dismissing the prayers, which originated from the Federal High Court Abuja, and travelled through the Court of Appeal, before it, agreeing with the positions of the lower courts which dismissed them on the ground of lacking in locus standi to institute the case.
But, Justice Adamu Jauro who read the Judgement, not only held that the PDP acted as meddlesome Interloper and a busy body as it is an internal affair of the APC, ordered the main opposition party to pay N2milllion, for its troubles, after establishing that its arguments tended to misleading the court, which was “sad”.
The court, which said it was aware of the case of Uche Nwosu, former governorship candidate in Imo State, the court, held that it did not applay in the instant case, as it agreed that Shettima withdrew his senate nomination on 6th July 2022 and was subsequently replaced and therefore, was no longer a candidate for the Senate before he picked up the running mate ticket, thus, making the allegation of multiple nomination untenable.
On the other hand, the court, held that Nwosu in his case, got nominated by two political parties for different positions, and having not being on all fours, PDP suit, was bound to fail right from the trial court, to the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court.
Accusing the PDP of attempts to use the social media to set a trap for the apex court to blackmail it, which he said was “painful, unfortunate and uncalled for,” the court said a political party had no right to challenge the action of another party, or the decision of INEC, in respect of another party, adding that for a person to have locus standi to challenge the nomination process of a political party, the person must be a neutral person and an aspirant to that position, and a member of the party.
Nigerians must allow the love they share abroad resonate at home – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is worried that the level of love Nigerians abroad share among themselves is not replicated at home, adding that a situation where they are quick to become friends outside and enemies at home, must be stop. The former President, who acknowledged how Nigerians in the diaspora were making the country proud in their different areas of endeavour, told participants at an evening reception held at New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, that Nigerians in the diaspora must conduct themselves as good citizens wherever they domiciled.
Obasanjo, whose views were captured in a statement by, Kehinde Akinyemi, his spokesman, expressed satisfaction over the unity exhibited among Nigerians in the United States of America, urging them to reciprocate such togetherness when they are back home.
The former President, said to have spoken on behalf of a delegation of eminent traditional leaders and academics that included the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Saka Matemilola, was quoted as saying: “Nigerian nationals are often very united when they are abroad, but something else when they return to the country, therefore, I want to urge all to be good citizens, not only where you are, but when also you come home to Nigeria.”
Uproar, social media exchange of fire, over Ooni’s handshake with Pete Edochie, KOK
The exchange of handshakes between veteran actors Pete Edochie and Kanayo O. Kanayo with Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyey Ogunwusi Enitan, has spurred a flurry of reactions on social media, The Nation, is reporting.
The paper, which reviewed the viral video shared on Thursday, where Edochie and Kanayo approached Ooni’s table at Elizabeth Jack Rich’s 40th birthday party on Tuesday and exchanged Igbo “cultural” handshakes with the monarch, acknowledged the different meanings being read into it.
Social media users on Twitter took to the comment section of the video with some knocking the actors for disrespecting the tradition by exchanging handshakes with the monarch, while others praised Ooni for showing respect to the Igbo culture.
Man of Letters said: “Igbakeji Oorisa?! It’s acceptable that he received the cross-culture respect handshake with Pete Edochie because the man Pete carry, but what’s his excuse for doing it with Kanayo O Kanayo??”
Kelvin Odanz said. “Is this ceremony holding in the Ooni palace? I mean, if an Igbo man (from a culture that doesn’t bow to another man) meets the Ooni in the UK for instance, is it disrespectful if he chooses to greet the respected Oba in a way he was brought up to respect dignitaries?”
Another user Onyemauchi tweeted: “This man supposed be King for him community”
Another tweep tracesorba wrote: “Igbos don’t bow down to any man, An evolved or wise man is their our own Chi.”